Cowboy builder back behind bars for conning elderly victims soon after prison release

A cowboy builder who launched a cruel campaign conning elderly people out of thousands of pounds just days after being released from jail for identical offences is back behind bars.

Monday, 17th February 2020, 5:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th February 2020, 10:28 am

Anthony Jarrett defrauded 12 victims out of a total of £3,575 in deposits between June and August last year.

The 42-year-old, who appeared via video link from Durham prison, has now been jailed for two years at Newcastle Crown Court.

Andrew Finlay, prosecuting, said the victims were aged between 61 and 84 and many lived in the same area of Wallsend. However he also targeted someone in Sunderland and others in West Denton, Newcastle.

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Anthony Jarrett and (right) caught on CCTV by one of his victims.

The court heard that Jarrett offered to do construction or gardening work on their properties before taking a deposit and not completing the work.

One 72-year-old woman had paid £400 and chased Jarrett up when work had not begun. Mr Finlay said: “Instead the defendant came up with various excuses including that his father had died which had delayed the start of the work.”

Mr Finlay read her victim impact statement in which she said: “I am upset and very annoyed at what has happened.

“I think it is despicable that he would target elderly people like this and deserves to be in jail.

“I feel stupid that he did that and that he must have been laughing behind our back.”

She added that she and her husband, who she cares for, are pensioners and £400 is an amount they cannot afford to lose.

Mr Finlay added that Jarrett approached a 65-year-old man who suffers with Motor Neurone Disease at his address. He was paid a £150 deposit for work on the driveway.

In his victim impact statement the man said “I wanted to do the work myself” but due to his condition he was not able to and that he therefore felt “happy that someone else was going to do it.”

However when Jarrett failed to return, the man was able to take CCTV footage from a camera on his property to the police.

The court heard Jarrett had convictions almost identical in nature from 2016 and 2018 and was on licence at the time of this offending.

Jamie Adams, defending, said Jarrett has had issues with drugs for his whole life. He said: “It started when he was nine because of the area he lived. If that wasn’t enough he quickly went onto alcohol.

“At the heart of it has been his dependency on not just alcohol but on that drug cocaine and crack cocaine as well.”

He said Jarrett is “motivated to change” and had made “genuine efforts to sort himself out”.

Of Jarrett’s victims, Mr Adams said: “They are not likely ever to be attacked by him again in the way he has attacked them in the deceitful acts that he has done.”

Jarrett, of HMP Durham but formerly from Sunderland, pleaded guilty to 12 counts of fraud by false representation and one count of possession of cannabis at an earlier hearing.